Chalk + Talk with Professor John Kay

Better off in? The economics of Scottish independence

We are delighted to welcome to Chalk + Talk leading economist Professor John Kay who will discuss the economic challenges facing an independent Scotland, examining the cases put forward by both the UK and Scottish governments.

With the referendum on Scottish independence now less than a year away the debate around the consequences of a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ result is focusing on the economic implications of independence. Both sides agree that an independent Scotland is feasible in economic terms. However there is less agreement about whether it is desirable for the Scottish people.

Scotland has a similar economic profile to the rest of the UK, maintains a good reputation for financial services, and has high-value specialities in medicine, tourism, and food and drink. It also has the widely touted benefit of North Sea oil. Despite this, it is solving the complex issues of currency and monetary policy, while maintaining fiscal stability, which are seen as the key precursors to any successful separation of Scotland from the rest of the UK. How would the economic uncertainty caused in the event of a ‘Yes’ vote affect Scottish business and would it impact on inward investment? Does the fact that many leading Scottish businesses are headquartered in London create challenges? Given the lessons of the crisis in the Eurozone, and the Treasury and Bank of England’s refusal to maintain monetary union in a post-independence scenario, is the creation of a separate currency which is ‘pegged’ to sterling viable?

Chalk + Talk is the SMF’s popular lunchtime seminar series, run in partnership with the ESRC. Chalk + Talk brings the best policy output from the world of academia into the heart of Westminster.

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